Seattle to Portland Thoughts

Here we are, three days after crossing the finish line in Portland. My rear end no longer pains me when I sit, the old man noises have dwindled some and I was able to walk the neighborhood with Michelle.

The bike still sits in the garage and will NOT move for another week, but the body is on its way to recovery.

This was my 4th time on this ride, the first was exactly 10 years ago, and I did it in two days, the rest were all 1 day rides.

These are just some random thinkings about my rides and the STP in general…

My first ride was way back in 2008. I was a new rider, I was wearing tennis shoes, and had no thoughts of ever doing 200 miles in a day. In fact, my first 100 mile ride was about 6 weeks prior, the Flying Wheels Summer Century.

The end of my first century, notice the thumbs up!

On the day of the STP, I was heading north to the starting line at UW from Federal Way. I got all the way to Southcenter when I looked at the bike in the rear view mirror and realized I had forgotten the water bottles… I got a MUCH later start than I planned that day.

I was going to camp in Chehalis

when I stumbled on to an vacancy at the hotel across the street. Yes, it cost me $175 to spend one night in Chehalis, but it was ENTIRELY worth it!

I will also tell you, the carrot cake at Denny’s that night was the best ever. My bill was $15, and I tipped my server another $15 for getting me the biggest piece she had!

Crossing this bridge at Kelso

I was at the top, in the middle of a couple of hundred bike riders and my chain slipped off the front! That was the fasted chain fix ever!

I crossed the finish line that next day

and looking at this photo, I was wearing the exact clothes then I had on this last Saturday (aside from the shoes and gloves)!!

Looking proud here!

The ordeal of the day was not over though. That year I had paid for a bus to take me back to Seattle. That was almost worse than the ride.

Funny thing, I looked up the temp, it was int he 90s the day I crossed, I don’t remember the heat.

Afterwards, I really hadn’t thought about doing this again. I had ticked it off the list, and was doing other rides. Somewhere though, along about 2012, I got a wild hair. Not only was I gonna do it again, I was going to do it ONE DAY! Nope. I had never done 200 in one day, but seriously, how hard could it be….

I was still in tennis shoes, but I was a bit cocky. So one day it was!

Two things I really remember that day. One was a flat at about 120 miles. It took me three times to fix it. I was a bit rummy. I decided to save my last CO2 cartridge and limp into the Vader rest stop on  tire that was almost as flat as a Tom Brady Football. (My frame pump was not the best back then) I lost a lot of time with that tire.

The other part was that it drizzled and was cool for the first 100 miles. I never saw the sun until Centralia. I loved it!

I made it to the finish just before it closed, I just looked at my write up, in my book of bib numbers, and I quote “I don’t think I will ever do this again”  The last 30 were hard! (Funny there are no photos I can find of this one)

This time I was smart. We had booked a hotel, and we spent the night. Heading home the next day. A MUCH better idea!

That lost time with the tire annoyed me though!

knew I could do better. Two years later, 2014, I signed up again! I did it once, so the second time should be easier! And I was now clipped in!

That year was ALL about the heat. We had had a heat wave for weeks. and the forecast for the day of the ride was for more. I left in the dark, but it was already hot. I just remember it was miserable. At one point I saw 97 degrees

This was the year I found Liz sitting in the shade completely out of water. Luckily I had a spare bottle to give. She was a hurtin unit! (She did finish!)

I kept moving, but 25 miles out, I called Michelle to say I wasn’t sure I was going to make it in.

Being the excellent coach she is, she got me back on the bike and to the end!

stp

 

But I was brain fried!

STP

It took a few days of doing this at the beach to recover.

You can see the recap on the last post for this year’s ride.

So those were the specifics of my rides now my thoughts of the STP in general.

It is a GREAT bucket list ride. One day or two, it is one to tick off the list.

Cascade does a great job marking the course, providing rest stops and support along the route. If you need help, it will be there soon.

85% of the riders are just plain fun! The rest, all probably drive BMWs with the attitudes they bring on the bikes.

And I love seeing the finish line!!!

There are some down sides:

The route, is for the most part, ugly! You should not do this route for the scenery.

The food left a LOT to be desired this year.

The weather, will most likely be hot HOT HOT from now on. Mid July is the hottest time of the year in the Northwest, be ready for it.

The last 50 miles, along highway 30 is loud, hot, little shade and dirty! You are already exhausted and have to gut out the last part.

And the worst, is when you get to Portland. They take you 5 miles through the most round about way possible to the finish. Your legs are fired, you are tired, and you get stuck at every traffic light. After each one, it gets harder to start…. I got made all three times I did this in one day, until I finally got to the finish!

So, in the end, HELL YES do it! and if you like it, do it again!

For me, I’ve been there, I done it, and yep got the t-shirts!

I got nuthin more to prove on this ride. I am done!!

And yep, this time I DO mean it!

 

2 thoughts on “Seattle to Portland Thoughts

  1. Nice summary! My first and only “official” STP was in 2008. (I’ve ridden it two other times on my own as a commute from Portland to Seattle.) I’m glad I did the ride so I could relate to what others were talking about when they talked about the famous “STP.” But, like you, I feel like I’ve been there, done that. Time to move on to other bucket list items!

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